SEQUIM — The Sequim City Council has approved moving ahead on a plan to remodel the interior of Guy Cole Convention Center as a concert hall complete with a stage, backstage and audience seating.
The Sequim City Council on Monday night authorized City Manager Steve Burkett and staff to move forward with the Sequim City Band on the plans.
The measure passed 6-0. Mayor Ken Hays recused himself from the matter because he said he has a business arrangement with the band.
“This is exactly the kind of thing that Sequim needs,” said Councilman Ted Miller, adding that he still had concerns about the need to remodel the center’s public kitchen.
Under the agreement, the center would be leased to the band for regular use and concerts.
Burkett agreed the city could get more use out of the center’s kitchen.
The city’s citizen park advisory board backs the proposed upgrades to the 10,000-square-foot community center, saying it would make it a better concert venue during the colder months.
The band of 50 local volunteer musicians now performs the third Sunday of each month from May to September at the James Center band shell, an outdoor concert stage at the city water reclamation park north of Carrie Blake Park, in which the Guy Cole Center sits.
Cost about $250,000
It is estimated it could cost about $250,000 to upgrade the convention center, from new stage to sound system to backstage area to seating area of more than 300 to restrooms.
Once the money is raised, the band could make the improvements, then turn the facility back over to the city, according to Patsy Mattingley, a band member who serves on the park board.
Improving the acoustics, which Mattingley criticized, would require removal of the ceiling and other improvements.
In other action:
■ The council approved a list of recipients for health and human services funding.
Recipients include the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula, $12,500; Dungeness Valley Health & Wellness Clinic, $15,000; Sequim Senior Activity Center, $10,000; Healthy Families of Clallam County, $9,000; Olympic Community Action Programs, $5,000; Parenting Matters Foundation, $5,000; Peninsula Community Mental Health Center, $7,500; and Volunteer Chore Services, $5,000.
United Way of Clallam County, which recommended the funding amounts after the City Council asked for the agency’s advice, also charged a $1,000 administrative fee.
Councilman Don Hall voted against the allocations, saying he wanted the majority to go to the Boys & Girls Clubs.
Councilman Erik Erichsen also voted against the final allocations, reiterating that he does not believe tax dollars should go to charitable organizations.
■ The council also approved a seven-member Planning Commission, allowing up to three members to be from outside the city limit.
The measure passed 6-0, with Miller abstaining because he wanted the ordinance to sunset after four years to reconsider the Planning Commission’s makeup at that time.
■ It unanimously approved an ordinance regulating pawn shops.
■ It delayed a decision on a renewable-energy and energy-efficiency ordinance until March 28, if it is ready.
The council also discussed with Public Works Director Paul Haines the possibility of placing a crosswalk where Brackett Road meets Priest Road, a request from resident Andy Miller, who gathered a petition with 100 signatures of residents supporting the proposal.
Haines, citing more need to study the proposal, said he could not tell the council if the proposal was viable.
He called it “a big deal” for the city to endorse the site as a safe place for a crosswalk.
Miller said residents in wheelchairs were forced to cross Priest Road at their own risk without a crosswalk.
Haines said it might be a good idea to study why residents are not using the trail that runs along the north side of West Washington Street to the crosswalk at the intersection of Priest Road and Washington Street.
Haines agreed Brackett Road was in need of improvements for traffic and pedestrians.